SWINDON boxer Kelvin Young has been trading punches with world boxing superstar Carl Froch.
The Penhill boxer was invited to spar the IBF super-middleweight champion to help Froch prepare for his next fight.
Froch takes on WBA champion Mikkel Kessler on May 25 and, after Young impressed during his two-day sparring session with the man nicknamed The Cobra, he has been invited back for more of the same.
Young admitted he was initially a little starstruck to be sharing the same ring as Froch but, after a couple of rounds with the Nottingham boxer, he soon got into his groove.
“He (Froch) is so good,” Young told the Advertiser. “It was amazing to share the ring with him.
“When you watch him on television he looks easy to hit but he is far quicker than he looks and is extremely evasive.
“I sparred 10 rounds with him but for the first two I just found it hard to believe I was sharing a ring with Carl Froch.
“In the third round of sparring I wanted to take it to him and I did really well. Then in the fourth round he gave me some back.
“He hits extremely hard, harder than I have ever been hit before.
“He shook me with a couple but I came back strong each time which pleased me.”
The current Southern Area super-middleweight champion is delighted to have been invited back to Froch’s training base - the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
He has also been handed the chance to train with Froch’s coach and Great Britain Performance Director Rob McCracken and his squad.
Young, who was on the brink of a shot at the English middleweight title last year before his loss to Tony Hill, believes teaming up with Froch & Co could catapult him back into reckoning for top domestic honours.
“Carl was giving me tips all the time,” added Young. “I’ve picked up so much already and introduced it already into sparring back in Swindon.
“I believe I can learn so much from him and I’m delighted to have been invited back indefinitely.
“Carl told me I was a tough kid. He told me he has dropped some quality boxers with the same shots he was hitting me with, so I am happy with that.
“I believe if I can keep holding my own in the ring with someone like Carl Froch then it can really help me get back to the top domestic scene.”
Young hopes to return to spar Froch every week in the lead up to his fight against Kessler and the former Penhill amateur is predicting a win for his sparring partner, adding: “I want to go back up to Sheffield as much as I can now. It can only help my career.
“Froch-Kessler will be a great fight and I respect both fighters. Anyone who is prepared to get in the ring with 10 ounce gloves and without a headguard and take a punch from Carl Froch deserves the utmost respect. Kessler is a great fighter too but I think Carl will win on the night.”
Young is due to return to the ring on Saturday, May 11 on Swindon boxing promoter Keith Mayo’s next show in Gloucester.